Cats and dogs are often an unlikely pair, but there’s an exception when it comes to cheetahs. The endangered African cat is skittish and shy by nature, and this proves difficult for breeding when in captivity. Zoos across the nation have discovered that therapy dogs provide cheetahs companionship and help combat anxiety, as Metro reported. In fact, dogs are so beneficial to cheetahs’ well-being that you’ll often find them in zoo exhibits nationwide. Though the topic of cheetah and dog friendships is currently getting plenty of attention across social media networks, this is not a new revelation. National Geographic reported on the nurturing relationships between therapy dogs and cheetahs back in 2015.
Most people would never think that cheetahs and dogs could be best friends, and the wonderful relationship that develops between the two species is amazing. Because wild cheetahs are so skittish, they can have a difficult time socializing and this makes it difficult for them to form the bonds and attachments necessary to breed. The problem is exacerbated when cheetahs are in captivity and deal with additional stress and anxiety. According to National Geographic, cheetahs are more than vulnerable or threatened, they are dangerously close to becoming extinct. There are approximately 7,1oo cheetahs left in the wild, according to National Geographic. The conservation work that zoos provide is of the utmost importance to ensuring these beautiful and powerful creatures remain strong.
The San Diego Zoo explained the reason they introduce a dog buddy to cheetah cubs as a way of helping comfort the cheetah. According to the Zoo, cheetahs study their dog buddy’s body language as a way to ease into new situations. Cheetahs have a strong flight response and this makes them skittish. By having a dog buddy, cheetahs can remove the instinct to run from a new situation and are more likely to acclimate to new things.
Not only are cheetahs and dogs a wonderful pairing, but they are adorable to watch. You can see photos and videos of cheetahs with their dog buddies below. Don’t miss the cute pictures of cheetahs and dogs shared by the Columbus Zoo as well as background information on this fabulous animal pairing.
[Featured Image by Dennis H. Miller/Shutterstock]